September 27, 2014 by JImbo
“All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.” –T.E. Lawrence
Yup, from the one and only “Lawrence of Arabia.” I’d highly recommend reading his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom. It’s not just a good read. It also gives a perspective on why things are like they are over in the Middle East.
When he talks about “lying to the Arabs” it is still resounding through the psyche of the Middle East. If the Arabs agreed to fight the Turks (which the British were also fighting at the time), then the British agreed to help the Arabs out later. They have LONG memories over there, and the betrayal the Arabs through Sykes-Picot Agreement has been quoted often by ISIS and other groups in the region.
For those who don’t know, Sykes-Picot was the name of the Agreement by the Allied powers to divide the Middle East into colonies. They told the Arabs that if they kicked out the Turks of the Ottoman Empire, they would get their OWN country.
Lawrence among others made friends with the Arabs and led them on daring military raids. Many died in the name of freedom against the hated Turks. Unfortunately, the Allies lied to them knowing full well that they would simply TAKE the land and divide it up themselves later. They would replace one hated empire with several new ones.
These artificial lines making new colonies on the map in essence caused most of the problems we now have in the Middle East. First, they didn’t respect who was living there, so different people were thrown together and they were cut off from family and communities in other “colonies.”
Second, making them colonies didn’t just screw the locals. It set a precedent that the “Great Powers” would have to constantly be involved in the region. Even our involvement now is simply because the other countries were involved before and when they left it created a vacuum of power.
Give Seven Pillars of Wisdom a read. It gives you a glimpse of the Arabs before the colonization by Europe and some insight into the Arabic character. Not all the nations of the Middle East are Arabic in character. (Turkey is Turkish, Iran is Persian, etc.) However, most of it is, and Islam has much of its particular style because of where it was founded in Saudi Arabia.
History is said to be made up of “chains.” You can see this is things tying you down, or keeping you on a set path. However, there is also the idea of a “chain of consequence.” One thing leads to another.
No chain is unbreakable. If we let the past tie us down, then we remain slaves. If we recognize what has happened and why, we can then begin to change our path and break those chains of the past.
It’s up to every individual to make that choice. Together individuals become groups, and groups become nations. First we must see the chains that bind us.
It doesn’t matter if we think ISIS is justified in their actions or not. The point is that some Muslims and Arabs DO believe it. Hitler made wild accusations against the Communists, Jews, Treaty of Versailles, etc.
Many of his claims weren’t true. However, a few were. Most importantly it didn’t matter if they were true or not. People BELIEVED him and they acted on those beliefs.
You have to know your enemy’s motivations. Their truth or falsehood doesn’t matter. As long as THEY believe it, then their actions will keep following their beliefs.
It’s not that long a book. It’s interesting to read. Lots of action. Interesting commentary. And you just might learn something.